29 September 2007

Pumpkin History
Pumpkins are believed to have originated in North America. Seeds from related plants have been found in Mexico dating back to 7000 to 5500 B.C.

References to pumpkins date back many centuries. The name pumpkin originated from the Greek word for "large melon" which is "pepon." "Pepon" was changed by the French into "pompon." The English changed "pompon" to "Pumpion." American colonists changed "pumpion" into "pumpkin."

Native American Indians used pumpkin as a staple in their diets centuries before the pilgrims landed. They also dried strips of pumpkin and wove them into mats. Indians would also roast long strips of pumpkin on the open fire and eat them. When white settlers arrived, they saw the pumpkins grown by the Indians and pumpkin soon became a staple in their diets. As today, early settlers used them in a wide variety of recipes from desserts to stews and soups. The origin of pumpkin pie is thought to have occurred when the colonists sliced off the pumpkin top, removed the seeds, and then filled it with milk, spices and honey. The pumpkin was then baked in the hot ashes of a dying fire.
Pumpkin Soup
Recipe courtesy Chef Kerry Simon, Simon Kitchen & Bar, Hard Rock Hotel, Las Vegas, NV
2 tablespoons butter
1 onion, diced
2 carrots, peeled and diced
1 apple, peeled and diced
2 cups fresh pumpkin, roasted and diced, see note below
1 tablespoon sage leaves
3 cups chicken stock
1 cup cream
Salt and freshly ground pepper

In a stockpot over medium heat, melt butter and saute onion, carrot, apple, roasted pumpkin, and sage until all are tender, about 8 to 10 minutes. Puree the mixture in a food mill; if you do not have a food mill, then puree in a food processor or blender. Return the puree to the stockpot, add the chicken stock and simmer for 15 minutes. Then add the cream and simmer for 5 more minutes, lowering the heat if necessary so it does not boil. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper. Divide soup among 4 soup bowls and serve immediately.

Cook's Note: To roast pumpkin, preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Cut whole pumpkin in half and then cut each half into several pieces. Discard seeds or reserve for another use. Place pumpkin on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Roast in oven until tender but not falling apart, about 30 to 40 minutes. Let cool, peel away skin, and dice.
Grilled Bratwurst with German Potato Salad and sauerkraut
4 cans beer, 12 ounces each
1-1/2 pounds Bratwurst sausage links (2 to 3-ounce links)
2 pounds baking potatoes, peeled and medium diced
6 ounces raw bacon, chopped
1 cup chopped onions
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 to 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup whole grain mustard
4 hard-boiled eggs, sliced
1/4 cup chopped green onions
Drizzle vegetable oil
12 slices or 6 rolls, dark bread, warm

Crock whole grain mustard

In a saucepan, over medium heat, bring the beer up to a simmer. Add the sausages and cook until plump, about 4 to 6 minutes. Preheat the grill. In a saucepan, over medium heat, cook the potatoes in salted water until tender, about 15 minutes. Remove and drain well. Keep warm. In a saute pan, over medium heat, cook the bacon until crispy. Add the onions. Season with black pepper. Saute for 1 minute. Remove from the heat. In a large mixing bowl, combine the cooked potatoes, crispy bacon/onions with fat, vinegar, to taste, mustard, eggs, and green onions. Season with salt and pepper. Mix well. Using the back of a spoon, mash the mixture together. The salad should be well blended but with some lumps. Lightly brush the sausages with oil. Place on the grill and cook for a couple of minutes on each side. Remove the sausages from the grill. Mound the potato salad in the center of each serving plate. Lay the sausages next to the salad. Garnish with parsley. Serve with the brown bread and mustard.

26 September 2007


1-2 pounds smoked sausage, cut into 4" lengths
1 teaspoon butter1 medium onion, cut into wedges
2 (16 oz.) cans sauerkraut
1 cup apple juice
2 medium apples, cut into wedges
4-6 medium potatoes, cut in half
Salt & pepper

Brown sausage in butter in a 1 1/2 quart Dutch oven or large casserole. Arrange onion, sauerkraut, apples and potatoes around sausage. Top with apple juice, salt and pepper to taste. Cover tightly and simmer over low heat, stirring once, for 30 to 40 minutes or until potatoes test done with a fork. Garnish with parsley as desired. Serves 6.

19 September 2007

1 pound dried red beans
2 pounds smoked sausage
2 large onions, chopped
3 stalks celery with tops, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup chopped parsley

1 bell pepper, chopped
Tabasco sauce, to taste
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon sugar
Hot cooked rice
Soak beans overnight in water to cover. Sort, wash and drain beans. Brown sausage in skillet. Combine all ingredients in a large pot. Add water to cover. Bring to boil, and then reduce heat. Simmer 3 to 4 hours, stirring occasionally. If necessary, add more water.
Serve over hot rice.
Source: Stephanie Price